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"Worth it": Insane amount woman spends to clone dead cat

<p>Kelly Anderson from Texas, US was devastated when she lost her "soulmate" cat Chai more than four years ago. </p> <p>Not long after, in what she calls "fate", Anderson decided to clone her beloved pet, a process which cost her a whopping $USD25,000 ($AUD38,000).</p> <p>"It was just one of those moments where I had been talking about cloning a few weeks before and fate kicked in," she told <em>Weekend Today</em>.</p> <p>"I remembered the conversation and decided to clone."</p> <p>The process took about four years, which is roughly twice the average time it takes to clone a pet. </p> <p>"It was not money that I had come easily to me but it was a very important process for me to do," she said.</p> <p>"It was 100 per cent worth it. The process saved my life."</p> <p>Anderson added that Belle, the successfully cloned cat, has grown to be as "bold, bossy, sassy" as Chai, and their personalities have become more alike. </p> <p>Despite the similarities, Anderson said that she doesn't set any expectations on Belle to be Chai's replacement. </p> <p>"I would still say she's very much her own cat and I treat her that way. I always try to treat them as individuals.</p> <p>"I never wanted to put expectations on Belle to be Chai. But I would say that they're very similar in a lot of ways."</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">According to</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span><em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-60924936" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC</a>, </em>the process itself involves extracting DNA from the pet to be cloned, then injecting that into a donor egg that has had its genetic material removed. The egg then grows into an embryo before being implanted into a surrogate mother, who then gives birth to the kitten. </p> <p>Pet cloning has become an increasingly popular practice, , despite how controversial and expensive it is, with celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Simon Cowell using the process to clone their own beloved pets. </p> <p>Anderson, who decided to document her story on social media added that people have mixed reactions to the process. </p> <p>"I think there's people who are fascinated and don't even realise that we're cloning animals ... so a lot of people are learning about cloning," she said. </p> <p>"But a lot of people also have opinions. So it's a mixed bag."</p> <p><em>Images: Weekend Today</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Are catnip and treats like it safe for cats? Here’s how they affect their minds and moods

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-quain-12802">Anne Quain</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Cats kept indoors can <a href="https://safeandhappycats.com.au/">live a good life</a> when they get access to a variety of positive experiences. Examples include performing natural behaviours, feeling safe at home and using their full sensory capabilities, including their sense of smell.</p> <p>Plants such as catnip, cat thyme and silver vine are potent smelly stimulants that can affect cat minds and moods.</p> <p>Ever wondered if these mind-altering substances are safe gifts for our feline friends? And importantly, is it OK to provide these, or is offering catnip to a cat like offering alcohol to a child?</p> <h2>Catnip, cat thyme and silver vine, oh my!</h2> <p>Owners who are concerned about their cats feeling bored and frustrated might offer them fresh or dried catnip (<em>Nepeta cataria</em>), silver vine (<em>Actinidia polygama</em>), cat thyme (<em>Teucrium marum</em>) or other plant materials such as valerian (<em>Valeriana officinalis</em>) and Tatarian honeysuckle (<em>Lonicera tatarica</em>). These last couple <a href="https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-017-0987-6">could offer an alternative</a> if your cat doesn’t respond to catnip.</p> <p>Toys filled with the leaves or extracts of these plants can cause apparently euphoric behaviour in domestic cats (as well as big cats like leopards and jaguars). Not all cats respond this way to these smells, which is <a href="https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12915-022-01369-1">believed to have a genetic basis</a>.</p> <h2>Are these treats safe for cats?</h2> <p>Cats have a highly developed sense of smell. Some plants release chemical compounds to deter insects or to attract predators of insects that might otherwise destroy them. This includes <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aba0721">nepetalactone</a>, an ingredient isolated from catnip and silver vine.</p> <p>Indeed, <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/why-cats-are-crazy-catnip">it has been argued </a> that exposure to nepetalactone leads to an increase in feel-good hormones in cats. It may also act as a <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abd9135">natural mosquito repellent</a> (note that it does not repel all mosquitoes and is not effective for flea or tick control).</p> <p>This may be why sniffing catnip, silver vine and some other plants causes cats to roll on their backs and rub their chins, cheeks and bodies on the plants. Other <a href="https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-017-0987-6">observed behaviours</a> include: licking, shaking their head while carrying plant material in their mouth, drooling, kicking the plant material with their hind feet, and a “wavelike” motion of the skin over their backs as muscles contract and relax.</p> <p>These responses <a href="https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-017-0987-6">generally don’t last long</a>, usually seconds to minutes, before cats relax or resume their normal behaviour.</p> <p>Rather than becoming addicted to these substances, cats are more likely to become habituated and desensitised, with the plants having less effect over time. When sniffed, these plants <a href="https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(23)01925-9">appear</a> to have <a href="https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12915-022-01369-1">no adverse effects</a> on cats.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yNUz4zQTA1E?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Cats (and a dog!) react to the active compound in catnip and silver vine, nepetalactone.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Is it ethical to alter the minds of our cats?</h2> <p>When considering how to improve the lives of animals we care for, we tend to focus on whether the benefits outweigh the potential harms.</p> <p>Despite some marketing claims that these plants activates the brain’s opioid system, delivering a “natural high” for cats, there is no evidence these substances actually alter the minds of cats in the same way as alcohol or other drugs alter the minds of humans.</p> <p>The marketing of these cat treats as “kitty crack” or “<a href="https://www.meowijuana.com/">meowijuana</a>” and silver vine sticks as “<a href="https://www.nekopiapets.com.au/product-page/joycat-cat-cigarettes-silvervine-stick">kitty cigarettes</a>” is likely to deter some people from offering their cats <a href="https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12915-022-01369-1">this kind of olfactory stimulation</a>.</p> <p>Unlike offering alcohol to a child, though, the evidence suggests our cats are OK when given access to these treats. These items won’t induce psychosis and won’t lead to addiction or withdrawal symptoms. And we don’t need to worry about our cats operating heavy machinery or making important decisions under the influence of mind-altering substances!</p> <p>Provided they can walk away at any time, it seems reasonable to let them opt in to a fun time.</p> <p>In fact, we harness the power of cats’ sense of smell in other ways by using <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435919/">synthetic feline facial pheromones</a>. This can help reduce fear, anxiety and distress in cats. These substances can come in useful in settings such as multi-cat households or when moving house.</p> <h2>How to make sure your cat has the purr-fect time</h2> <p>Offering a range of smells (olfactory stimulation) is just one way to ensure your cat has a varied and interesting life. Here are some tips:</p> <ul> <li> <p>offer cats choices to interact with treats and toys – don’t force them</p> </li> <li> <p>rotate the toys and experiences on offer, so every day offers something fresh</p> </li> <li> <p>offer items that cats can scratch – scratching posts and corrugated cardboard are popular items</p> </li> <li> <p>if you are concerned your cat has swallowed part of a toy or seems unwell, check in with your vet.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Given the short-lived effects of these plant-based olfactory stimulants on cats, it is important that we <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159119301054">optimise their environment, lifestyle and interactions</a> with humans to improve their welfare. We can’t just rely on catnip or silver vine to give our cats a good life indoors – it’s really up to us!<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214947/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211"><em>Mia Cobb</em></a><em>, Research Fellow, Animal Welfare Science Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-quain-12802">Anne Quain</a>, Senior Lecturer, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-catnip-and-treats-like-it-safe-for-cats-heres-how-they-affect-their-minds-and-moods-214947">original article</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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7 tips to help turn your cat into a friendly member of the family

<p><strong>How to make your cat love you</strong></p> <p>Getting a cat to be more affectionate is the yearning of many a pet owner. Some cats are antisocial when it comes to being picked up, cuddled or petted (much less sitting in a person’s lap). Other kitties are born loving this sort of attention.</p> <p>If you’re not lucky enough to have a cat who automatically seeks out your affection, trying to entice that reclusive furball to become your snuggle buddy may take some motivation and determination on your part. Your pet may never convert to a drooly lap cat, even after weeks of effort on your part, but at the very least you’ll probably strengthen your relationship with your cat.</p> <p><strong>Get the basics down</strong></p> <p>The initial stage of coaxing a cat into being more lovable is to let her recognise your positive intentions by dependably offering her good food, clean water, fun toys to play with and a litterbox that is cleaned regularly. When she’s happier, you’ll be happier, and these mutual good feelings will carry over into your relationship together.</p> <p>Spend extra time with your cat, letting her see you not as her owner but as her friend, meal provider and guardian. If she’s not coming up to you to say hi, be proactive: Walk over to her (as long as she’s not super-shy) and lavish affection on her. Once she gets used to all this attention, she might very well start seeking it out from you.</p> <p><strong>Be affectionate while feeding </strong></p> <p>While preparing her food (or making a production of opening that can of food), talk to your kitty. When she begins eating, gently stroke her a few times. This will help her associate being petted with a positive experience.</p> <p><strong>Be playful </strong></p> <p>Instead of trying to force a hug from your reluctant cat, play with her a little, maybe getting her to paw at a piece of string or chase after a laser pointer.</p> <p><strong>Try a little catnip</strong></p> <p>Bringing out a tin of catnip often brings timid felines out of their shells, and aloof cats sometimes become far friendlier under the influence of catnip.</p> <p><strong>Use the "slow blink"</strong></p> <p>Remember that using the “slow blink” as a non-verbal statement saying “I love you” will go a much longer way with your cat, versus a direct stare, which she may take as a threat.</p> <p><strong>Don't chase</strong></p> <p>Don’t try to push affection on your cat – for example, running after her. This might work with a dog, but chasing usually causes a scaredy cat to jolt off in another direction feeling victimised. And I should hope it goes without saying, but don’t punish or yell at your shy cat.</p> <p><strong>Give them a treat</strong></p> <p>Each time you share a session of tenderness with your cat, give her a treat. Let her see that this affectionate behaviour has its rewards.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/7-tips-to-make-your-cat-more-friendly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Family & Pets

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6 reasons cats need some indoor rules

<p><strong>Kitty cat behaviours</strong></p> <p>Cat behaviour is both wildly entertaining and, at times, perplexing. Even the most in-tune owner has to wonder why cats knock things over, why cats love boxes or why cats meow at people but chirp at birds and squirrels. What cat lovers do know is that kitties crave spaces with bird’s-eye views to observe their world – you know, like kitchen counters.</p> <p>But if you’re trying to keep foods toxic to cats away from your little lion, or you’re just fed up with constantly cleaning your kitchen to get rid of cat hair and little pieces of cat litter, here’s how to keep cats off counters for good.</p> <p><strong>Why do cats like to climb on counters?</strong></p> <p>It’s a curious conundrum: Why do cats hate water yet jump on kitchen counters to play with a dripping faucet? An even more puzzling question: Why do cats like to hang out on our countertops in the first place?</p> <p>“Cats are both predators and prey, so being able to survey their territory from above keeps them safe from predators and allows them to spot prey to catch,” says Samantha Bell, a cat expert with Best Friends Animal Society. That’s understandable, but domestic cats don’t have to catch their food, and they certainly don’t have to worry about predators, so why do they like to be up on the counter so much?</p> <p>“Counters are so attractive to cats because they’re up high, sturdy, right in the middle of the action and full of food,” Bell says. (Which may be one reason your cat licks you when you’re making a meal – it smells food on your hands.)</p> <p>Your actions can reinforce this counter-jumping habit. If you pet and talk to your cat while it’s on the counter, it’ll quickly learn that this is a place where it can get attention, says Dr Ragen T.S. McGowan, an animal behaviour scientist with Purina. “Many cats will jump up on the counter just to be close to human family members,” she says.</p> <p><strong>Can you train a cat to not be on your counters?</strong></p> <p>Absolutely, but there are two vital cat facts you should know when it comes to how to keep cats off counters, Bell says. To start, you can’t extinguish instinctive behaviours, like climbing high to be near the action.</p> <p>Furthermore – and this is a biggie – punishment doesn’t work. In fact, it can even cause cat anxiety and destructive behaviours. Here are a few ways you can teach your kitty to stay off your counters for good.</p> <p><strong>Remove the reward</strong></p> <p>You can train a cat to do a lot of things, and yes, staying off the counters is one of them. Here’s a critical question to ask when figuring out how to keep cats off counters: What is your cat’s reward for counter surfing?</p> <p>We know our feline friends hop on countertops to get food and attention and to socialise with humans. Maybe your cat is motivated by one or all of those factors. Or maybe it loves watching birds out the kitchen window. Whatever the case may be, you can train a cat to stay off the counters by removing rewards and positive reinforcement, McGowan says.</p> <p>Let’s say your cat is curious about the water dripping from the sink tap, likes to watch birds out the window or wants to nibble on food left on the counter. “Remove the reward by drawing the shades, fixing the tap or removing food from the countertops when possible,” says McGowan.</p> <p>And don’t fall into the trap of rewarding this bad behaviour. “For many cats, even the act of picking them up off the counter is rewarding and thus reinforces the behaviour,” says McGowan. Think about it: Your cat may rub against you while it’s on the counter and purr when you pick it up – both ways cats show affection. When you pick it up, you’re giving affection and attention and essentially telling your cat that climbing on the counter is a good way to get cuddles.</p> <p><strong>Redirect the cat's attention</strong></p> <p>Your cat may be climbing to get your attention, but before you give in and pet it, redirect its attention from the counter. “If their motivation is touch [being picked up or petted], then tossing a treat or toy and petting them only after they are on the floor can help to redirect them,” says McGowan.</p> <p>As tempting as it is, don’t pet your cat when it’s on the counter, as this can inadvertently reward the behaviour. Instead, call your cat to another part of the kitchen before giving it a treat or toy. Otherwise, McGowan says, it might learn a new trick: “If I get on the counter, Mum or Dad will throw a treat.”</p> <p>Consistently provide the rewards when your cat is not on the counter, and it’ll learn that being in other places gets it a reward, according to McGowan.</p> <p><strong>Teach it that counters are boring</strong></p> <p>It’s the old switcheroo! With this technique, you’re training your cat to choose a new place to hang out, one that’s still at the height level it prefers. Place a tall chair or stool near the counter, then reward your four-legged friend each time it sits there.</p> <p>We know what you’re thinking: This sounds counterintuitive. Won’t the cat use the barstool to jump onto the counter? “Yes, but they were getting on the counter anyway. The point is that you only reward them when they’re on the stool,” says Bell. “When you catch your cat on the stool, reward them with something of great value to them.”</p> <p>Don’t place the cat on the stool yourself. But you can lure it up to the stool by putting treats on it. If your cat jumps up on the counter during this training phase, play it cool. Remember, some cats have learned that being picked up from the counter means they’re going to get affection and cuddles. “Don’t say anything. Don’t look at them. Just quickly and gently set them on the ground,” says Bell.</p> <p>The goal is to show your cat there is nothing exciting about being on the counter. It only gets rewarded when it’s on the stool or high chair. “They learn quickly which location gets rewarded,” Bell adds.</p> <p>Granted, training takes some time and patience, but once cats realise rewards come when they’re on the barstool, you’ll have cat-free counters, Bell says. Once your pet nails the behaviour, you can stop giving it treats every time it gets on the stool. “That could cause a slot machine behaviour effect of ‘I’ll keep trying until I win,’” she says.</p> <p><strong>Set up cat-climbing alternatives</strong></p> <p>You’ve probably heard the saying “location, location, location.” It tops the wish list of most hopeful home buyers. For cats, that location is vertical. “Cats are drawn to high places to perch and survey the world, as they feel more secure from a high vantage point,” McGowan says. You can satisfy their desire for elevated living without sacrificing your clean countertops.</p> <p>For a simple and free option, Bell suggests putting a nightstand close to a dresser so your cat can easily jump to the dresser. Make it extra comfy and put a cosy blanket or cat bed on top of the dresser.</p> <p>You can give your cat a bird’s-eye view with products that put it at eye level with the action – wall shelves and bridges, window seats perfect for cat naps and cat trees with built-in scratching posts, toys and plush hideaways. Next, find the answer to a question every cat-parent has had once in their life – do cats know their names?</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/6-reasons-cats-need-some-indoor-rules" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Can you lend a paw this tax time to help cats in need?

<p>With a proud reputation of caring for cats for more than 60 years, the Cat Protection Society of NSW runs Sydney’s only no-kill shelter just for cats, as well as providing feline welfare programs to help cats and the people who love them. </p> <p>Cat Protection began in 1958 as a small group of people dedicated to reducing the number of street cats and while our organisation has grown over the years, our vision remains the same; that every cat deserves a loving and responsible home.</p> <p>Over the years, Cat Protection has helped literally hundreds of thousands of cats, kittens, and people. We’ve led the way in setting the standards for best-practice feline sheltering, and our health and welfare services extend far beyond our adoption centre. And while technology means we can offer a great range of free cat care resources online, we’ve never lost our human touch and we still help thousands of people every year with advice and tips on cat care by phone or in-person, at no cost. </p> <p>Our subsidised desexing, vaccination and microchipping programs promote cat health and welfare in the community and our newest program, Adopt-a-Stray, offers a complete and affordable package for those who wish to fully welcome a street cat into their heart and home. </p> <p>What sets us apart from many other animal shelters is our holistic approach to each individual cat or human client. Cats are not given a time limit, although most are adopted within days or weeks. Every cat is individually assessed and provided with a care plan to meet their unique needs. If they need complex surgery, allergy trials or behavioural interventions our highly qualified team will work with veterinarians and specialists to ensure the cat gets everything they need to set them on the path to living their best life.</p> <p>A kind person found Snake, a four-week-old sickly orphaned kitten. In addition to cat flu, our vets identified corneal scarring in his right eye, a blocked tear duct, and an adhesion on his eyelid restricting the normal movement of his third eyelid. Treatment resolved the flu and improved his eye, but Snake will live with limited vision in that eye. This has not dampened his playfulness or zest for life.</p> <p>As well as poor physical health, orphaned kittens miss out on the important lessons of being a cat from their mum and siblings, and this can lead to behavioural issues. Where we can, we will make sure such kittens get to join a stepfamily, but in cases such as Snake’s, illness means that isn’t always possible. It is then up to our human team to work with these little ones to help them learn to navigate the world with good manners!</p> <p>In contrast, Banjo had all the behavioural benefits of his brother but alas at seven weeks of age Banjo weighed only 560 grams while his brother Clancy weighed 900 grams!  </p> <p>Banjo was diagnosed with a rare form of congenital hypothyroidism. Because his condition was diagnosed early, his prognosis is very good. He was started on a medication called Thyroxine and went back into foster care so that we could monitor his progress and adjust the dose of his medication as necessary with follow-up blood tests. After six weeks in foster care, Banjo graduated to the adoption centre. He will need to be on Thyroxine for the rest of his life, but that didn’t daunt his new family who’ve told us Banjo is now thriving in his loving forever home.</p> <p>From individualised TLC and veterinary care for every cat and kitten, to helping human clients resolve cat challenges (from furniture scratching to strata bans) and strategic research and advocacy on behalf of people and cats, Cat Protection’s impact is so much greater than our budget. </p> <p>As an independent registered charity for cats, we’re dependent on donations and bequests to do our work. We are compliant, open and transparent; on our website you can see our audited annual reports for details of what we do and what it costs.</p> <p>We have a strict “no harassment” fundraising policy which means under no circumstances will your information be sold on, and we do not employ pressure-tactics or door-to-door solicitations. </p> <p>We don’t spend money paying fundraising companies to ring you at dinner time asking for money or send you five-page long letters insisting you give more. And we never will. </p> <p>Donations are invested in helping our feline friends and nurturing the unique bond between cats and people. Your generosity will mean that we can continue to help thousands of cats and people each year.</p> <p>If you can lend a paw, please <a href="https://www.givenow.com.au/catprotectionsocietynsw" target="_blank" rel="noopener">make your tax-deductible donation here</a>! </p> <p>For general advice on cat care and everything feline, call the Cat Protection Society of NSW on 02 9557 4818 or visit <a href="https://catprotection.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">catprotection.org.au</a>  </p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with the <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Cat Protection Society of NSW.</span></em></p>

Family & Pets

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AFL star rushed to hospital

<p>Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield played out the Cats’ 38-point loss to Port Adelaide on June 15 with a partially collapsed lung and a cracked rib after being hit from behind.</p> <p>The star midfielder wasn’t taken to hospital until after the game, despite the nasty blow to his lower back region following a collision with Dan Houston in the second quarter of the game.</p> <p>The club confirmed later that night that he had been taken to a hospital in Adelaide “as a precaution for further assessment”.</p> <p>According to the <em>ABC</em>, Dangerfield was taken in an ambulance.</p> <p>The following day the Cats confirmed he had suffered internal injuries.</p> <p>In a statement, the club said, “Dangerfield was taken to hospital after the game where he underwent further assessment and scans, he returned to the team hotel on Thursday night and will return to Melbourne on Friday by car.</p> <p>“The Cats medical team will continue to monitor Dangerfield to determine a return to play timeline.”</p> <p>SEN’s Sam Edmund took to Twitter to note the football club also had concerns about the star player’s kidneys.</p> <p>Coach Chris Scott wasn’t able to provide much information on Dangerfield’s injury.</p> <p>“He got that knock and he just progressively seized up more and more to the point where, he’s a warrior, but it looked to us like he couldn’t move,” Scott said.</p> <p>“He said that he wanted to keep trying, but it was clear he just couldn’t have an impact on the game from pretty early in the second quarter.</p> <p>“Our medical staff are brilliant and they will be providing the best care possible.</p> <p>“I could say that it’s a back spasm or something like that, but the honest answer is ‘I don’t know’.”</p> <p>The night of the incident was Dangerfield’s first game back after a hamstring injury suffered from old side Adelaide at GMHBA Stadium in round 8.</p> <p>Cats’ midfielder Tanner Bruhn also suffered from the game as he was subbed out after half-time with a shoulder injury.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

News

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Mayor chimes in on one town’s 30-year cat ban

<p dir="ltr">When residents of Halls Gap, Victoria, were first handed a cat ownership ban in 1993, they were not immediately onboard with the scheme. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, according to now-Halls Gap Community president David Witham, in the three decades since the rule was imposed, most have come around to the idea.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ban - which would see anyone caught with a feline face a fine of up to $100 - first came into effect as part of the region’s move to protect the sanctuary of the Grampians Ranges, an area also known as Gariwerd. </p> <p dir="ltr">Similar restrictions aren’t anything new in Australia, with a number of other Victorian councils having placed their own 24-hour curfews on cats, but Halls Gap’s ruling is one of only a few to go so far as to ban ownership entirely.</p> <p dir="ltr">Halls Gap is situated in the Grampians National Park, in the heart of a place that is also home to some of Australia’s most known and most threatened species. The ban served as an attempt to protect those species, which included the likes of vulnerable flora and fauna, including bandicoots and gliders.</p> <p dir="ltr">And while the ban was introduced late in 1993, and was incorporated into the Northern Grampians Shire Council’s local laws, no-one can say for certain whether or not it has had any effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">The impact of domestic cats on native wildlife is well documented, with a study previously revealing that over 340 million native animals are killed by them each and every year. </p> <p dir="ltr">And so, many believed that Halls Gap might have seen such figures drop for the area over the course of the three decades, but that was not the case. </p> <p dir="ltr">Since the restriction was introduced in 1993, no formal survey - by either local or state government - has been conducted, so any potential success remains an unknown factor.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Mayor Kevin Ewert - who joined the council 10 years after the cat ban came into effect - told <em>ABC</em> that it “must be working”, as there weren’t many cats lingering around, and that the locals couldn’t have minded too much. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Because of the myriad of native animals that  are living [in] the Grampians, I think most people probably think it’s a good thing,” he added. </p> <p dir="ltr">But as Witham noted, the area’s signage for the ban had come under fire a number of times, with vandals setting their sights on their controversial canvases. </p> <p dir="ltr">There was still hope for the future of their ‘project’, with Witham also mentioning that “the most recent time the shire have put the cat free zone signs back up - they're still up, which is promising.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty, Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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The 12 smartest cat breeds that are equally cute and clever

<h2>How smart is your cat?</h2> <p>Cats are delightfully complex creatures. If we dare to sleep in a few minutes late, they paw at our faces and meow, demanding breakfast. They can be warm and affectionate yet aloof when we’ve been away from the house too long. Even some of the smartest cat breeds display unusual cat behaviour.  But there’s no need for standardised tests to verify what we already know – cats are smart! Whether they’re mixed breed or purebred, small cat breeds or large cat breeds, the reality is that there’s no one accurate way to measure the intelligence of individual cats. However, recent research gives us some compelling evidence to back up what we know in our hearts: feline intelligence is unique.</p> <p>Are you clawing to find out which cat breeds are the smartest? Do they happen to be sleek black cat breeds, gorgeous orange cat breeds or all of the above? Experts say the ones on our list stand out when it comes to their trainability, insatiable curiosity, investigative skills and puzzle-solving brain power.</p> <h2>Do cats have a high IQ?</h2> <p>Before we reveal the smartest cat breeds, let’s take a closer look at just how clever these little lions are. We know that a cat’s brain is almost as structurally complex as a human brain. Cats have around 250 million neurons (tiny information processors) in their cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that solves problems, makes decisions, decodes emotions and creates complex behaviour, like why cats purr or why cats sleep so much. (In comparison, dogs have about 429 million neurons, and humans house an average of 86 billion.) And while more neurons in the brain does equal more cognitive ability, it isn’t necessarily a good indicator of intelligence. That’s because cognition can involve other areas outside the cerebral cortex.</p> <p>So why are dogs generally thought to be smarter than cats? Is it because they have more neurons? Nerdy science aside, there are a host of theories. For starters, dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and have been living and learning social tasks from humans longer than cats. Temperament wise, dogs are more patient and generally eager to please their humans. In contrast, cats are typically less eager to please, though some are exceptionally cooperative. They tend to be more impulsive, have far less patience and get frustrated and lose interest in something that’s boring to them.</p> <p>However, cats are highly attuned to their surroundings, and how they interact and respond is expressing intelligence, says Teresa Keiger, an all-breed judge with the Cat Fanciers’ Association. That awareness is what helped cats survive for thousands of years in the wild. “I notice that cats who were rescued from outdoor living situations tend to be more intelligent, since they’ve had to learn to think on their feet,” says veterinarian, Dr Stephanie Wolf. Whether a mixed breed or pedigree, rare cat breed or fluffy cat breed, one thing is certain: cats are smart and trainable; they just might not all be interested.</p> <h2>1. Russian blue</h2> <p>When it comes to the smartest cat breeds, the Russian blue is so clever that it’s more apt to train you than the other way around. Like an alarm, the Russian blue will wake you up to feed it breakfast and remind you when it’s dinnertime. In fact, if you’re looking for an accountability partner to maintain a strict schedule, this might be the cat for you. “This quiet breed is very attuned to its household,” says Keiger. “They’re incredibly smart, and they wait to make certain that any stranger is not a threat to safety.” Once they’ve issued your security clearance, they form a tight bond and are regarded as an affectionate cat breed with their humans – so much so that they’re known for hitching a ride on their human’s shoulders.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Russian blue</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>25 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–7 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>15–20 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>Abyssinian</h2> <p>This gorgeous cat looks like it stepped out of the jungle and into your living room. From the forward-tilting ears to the large almond-shaped eyes and the stunning colours of its coat, it resembles a cougar. “Abyssinians are incredibly intelligent, good problem solvers and full of an insatiable curiosity,” says Keiger.</p> <p>Perpetually alert and busy, the Aby is happiest when patrolling its environment and playing with challenging interactive puzzle toys. “I always think of Abys as the MacGyver of cats – if they had thumbs, they’d figure out how to fix anything,” Keiger says. Intelligence aside, Abys are highly social cats and love people and other felines. Plus, they are one of the cat breeds that gets along with dogds.   Who knows? Maybe the Aby could teach your old dog a few new tricks.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Abyssinian</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>30–40 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–5 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>9–15 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>3. Egyptian mau</h2> <p>The key to this exotic beauty’s happiness is sharpening its mental and physical skills. “Being able to offer enrichment is key to ensuring your cat is getting the best level of stimulation and exercise,” says veterinarian, Dr Julie Andino. That goes for all breeds, but this cat craves cat toys and activities that showcase its lightning-fast physical and mental responses. They’re so clever that they can even turn on the faucet to play in water – although we may never understand why some cats hate water when the mau wouldn’t miss an opportunity to splash their paws in it. After they’ve expended their energy figuring out the day’s puzzles, this cutie loves to snuggle up with their human.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Egyptian mau</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>17–28 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>4–6 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>9–13 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>4. Burmese</h2> <p>One of the smartest cat breeds, the Burmese craves attention, something you can learn from its body language.  “This intelligent breed loves to entertain its resident humans so much that it often checks to make certain someone is watching,” says Keiger. They’re also known for being dog-like and enjoy a rousing game of fetch, an unusually quirky cat behaviour. And they’re adorably stubborn. “When they make up their minds that they want something, they simply don’t take no for an answer and usually figure out a way to get it.” And that includes attention from you. Burmese cats are all about give-and-take when it comes to affection, but if you’re busy and ignore them too long, they might take it upon themselves to follow you around the house, rub against your leg  or plop down on your lap and snuggle, all to remind you that you have a cat that needs some loving.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Burmese</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>25–30 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>4–6 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>9–13 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>5. American bobtail</h2> <p>It’s one thing for the smartest cat breeds to learn new tricks, but when a cat also has emotional intelligence, that’s an impressive combo. These cute stubby-tailed felines are noted for their empathy and for providing a calming and assuring presence that’s equal to emotional support dogs. “They are also very in tune with their household and owners, offering a shoulder to cry on when needed,” says Keiger.</p> <p>They even act like dogs – playing fetch, walking on a leash and rushing to greet guests when there’s a knock on the door. Devoted companion, a lover of people and other animals, the American bobtail is an adorable and lovable companion.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">American bobtail</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>22–25 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–7 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>13–15 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>6. Japanese bobtail</h2> <p>The smartest cat breeds are often breeds we have never heard of before. Take the Japanese bobtail, one of the rarest cat breeds in the world. Every Japanese bobtail has its own unique tail. Yes, you read that right. No two tails are ever alike. They consider themselves family members and are always ready to help, even if that means sitting on your sitting on your laptop. “They are active, intelligent, talkative cats who delight in mischief-making,” says Keiger. They love to travel, stay in hotels and quite literally jump through hoops and over hurdles to impress you – and entertain themselves. As brain power goes, it’s that human-like personality that makes them seem so bright. “Life is never dull with a Japanese bobtail,” Keiger says.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Japanese bobtail</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>20–23 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–5 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>15–18 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>7. Siamese</h2> <p>The Siamese is wicked smart and loves to learn new tricks, Dr Andino says. If you don’t provide interesting and challenging outlets to exercise its noggin, it will find its own stimulating activities, whether you approve or not. If there’s one thing that competes with utilising its brain power, it’s the love and affection it craves from humans. If this cat had a daily schedule, “get affection from human” would be a top priority. And Siamese cats will let you know by that infamous yowling. “The Siamese are very vocal and communicative with their human,” says Dr Andino. They’re likely to talk your ear off, especially if they want something. One of the smartest cat breeds, the Siamese gets along well with people of all ages, as well as other animals. Bonus: if you take any stock in choosing cats most compatible with your zodiac sign, the Siamese happens to be very compatible with Libras.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Siamese</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>20–25 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–7 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>15–20 years</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>8. Bengal</h2> <p>The Bengal sports a jaw-dropping, highly contrasted coat of distinctive marbling – very similar to what you see on leopards and jaguars. Its striking beauty is why you should keep close tabs on your Bengal, as it’s the cat breed most often stolen. Beauty aside, this very confident and curious cat isn’t shy about asking you to play. Bengals tend to get a little set in their ways, so introducing new people and furry friends should be done at an early age, if possible. Need to lay down a few new house rules or teach it some tricks? No problem. Bengals pick those up lickety-split. Their athletic prowess is unmatched, but they need plenty of space to run, pounce, roam and jump – some even love to walk on a leash and explore the outdoors. Bengals are super sweet and often very chatty (here’s what their meows may mean) and happy to engage you in a conversation.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Bengal</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>20–25 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>4–7 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>12–16 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>9. Korat</h2> <p>Did you know that the smartest cat breeds could also bring you good fortune? The Korat is one of Thailand’s good luck cats, and no, they don’t mind if you pet them several times a day to increase your luck! Korats are freakishly observant and will watch everything you do. Don’t be surprised if they learn how to open their own box of treats. They’re a devoted companion, an outgoing feline and enjoy having guests in the house. One reason is they love to snoop. Like the nosy houseguest who peeks in your medicine cabinet, the Korat returns the favour, sniffing and investigating your guest’s shoes, purses, coats and anything else that piques their interest. Because Korats thrive when they are around people, being alone may cause cat anxiety.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Korat</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>23–30 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–5 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>10–15 years</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>10. Bombay</h2> <p>Bred to look like the Indian black leopard, this midnight-black kitty walks with a sway much like its wild counterpart and is equally gorgeous and clever. Bombay cats are exceptionally friendly, outgoing and lovey-dovey. Family life is their jam, including younger humans and furry siblings. “The Bombay kitty is great at being trained, and they’re very motivated to show their people what they are capable of learning,” says Dr Andino. These cats thrive with continuous education, learning new tricks and solving challenging interactive puzzles. And when the love bug hits them, watch out. They will hunt for your lap and crash there until they get enough pets and belly rubs.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Bombay</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>23–30 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>3–5 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>12–16 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>11. Havana brown</h2> <p>The brownie, as its fans dub it, is deeply connected to humans and savours affectionate companionship. (Havana browns insist on being involved in whatever you’re doing, yet they are remarkably sensitive and use both their paws to gently touch their humans. They share DNA with the Siamese, but their meows are quieter, charming and almost flirty. They might prefer the company of one favourite human over others in the family but tend to get along with humans of all ages, as well as furry roommates. Perhaps the most interesting characteristic is how they investigate. While most felines examine things with their nose, Havana browns use both their paws to check out trinkets and treasures.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Havana brown</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>23–28 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>4–6 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>8–13 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>12. Singapura</h2> <p>The Singapura is the smallest domestic cat breed, with a whole lot of feisty goodness in a tiny package. If those big saucer eyes and adorable face aren’t captivating enough to get your attention, you might need some catnip. And don’t let the small frame fool you. Under that fur lies a muscular and athletic body. The Singapura is a social butterfly, always looking to be the centre of attention, in the cutest, playful ways. They are the life of any party, whether they’re invited or not. Conversations with Singapuras are a pure delight as well and never get stale – you could listen to their sweet meows for hours, and they’ll love your high-pitched baby talk just as much. Keenly observant, intelligent and extroverted, these cats still act like kittens well into adulthood.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2">Breed overview</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">Singapura</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Height</td> <td>15–20 centimetres</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Weight</td> <td>2–4 kilograms</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Life expectancy</td> <td>11–15 years</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/the-12-smartest-cat-breeds-that-are-equally-cute-and-clever" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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10 greatest cats of the internet

<h2>Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat</h2> <p>Look at that face: displeased with life and not impressed with the photoshoot. Grumpy Cat’s face has been the subject of a proliferation of memes, the best and most definitive simply says, NO. Incidentally that’s not what she said to Friskies cat food when they offered her the position of spokescat.</p> <h2>Sam</h2> <p>A touch more difficult to locate by name than by expression, Sam Has Eyebrows is mostly famous for his distinctive paws… Just kidding.</p> <h2>Shironeko</h2> <p>Images of Shironeko are usually of him smiling in his sleep and in a basket, which of course earned him the creative nickname, Basket Cat. You can put him down anywhere, balance anything on his head and…chill. Such a zen pet.</p> <h2>Nala</h2> <p>With over 1.5 millon Instagram followers, Nala’s antics are known the world-over. Mostly posing in bow-ties or doing her perfect OMG face, blue-eyed Nala has risen from orphan cat to sensation!</p> <h2>Colonel Meow</h2> <p>Colonel Meow doesn’t have fans he has ‘minions’. He drinks scotch, swears like a trooper, has his own news channel and has been awarded a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for his nine-inch-long fur! Unfortunately he passed in 2014 but his memory will live on the Internet forever.</p> <h2>Hamilton The Hipster Cat</h2> <p>Just look at that perfectly sculpted handlebar tash! Hamilton has the boys and girls of Shoreditch, Williamsberg, Berlin and all other hipster-hubs on their knees.</p> <h2>Scarface</h2> <p>Oh my. Scarface has seen it all and fought it all. He is now recuperating at a sanctuary after making his own calendar for Singapore’s Cat Welfare Society to help other young tomcats avoid a life of crime.</p> <h2>Maru</h2> <p>Maru is a very hard worker… The Japanese resident has released two books, starred in numerous television commercials and has littered the Internet with hundreds of stunt videos involving him testing the limits of the average cardboard box. What’s next for Maru? Probably a nap!</p> <h2>Nyan Cat</h2> <p>What’s to say about Nyan? Nyan is a poptart with the face of cat. She hurtles through time-space trailing rainbows behind her to the super-cute sounds of Japanese pop, while singing nyan-nyan-nyan (Japanese for meow). A whole industry is based around Nyan; toys, endless memes, smartphone games, oh and a clothing line.</p> <h2>Snoopy babe</h2> <p>Arguably the cutest cat on the whole of the Internet, Snoopy’s fame is rapidly soaring. I have chosen this photo simply to illustrate the cat-in-bread trend now sweeping the internet, but it does not do her justice. I urge you to seek her out.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Facebook / Instagram</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/10-greatest-cats-of-the-internet" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Most beloved, gorgeous cat in Australia" seeking full-time carer

<p dir="ltr">A Sydney family are seeking the paw-fect candidate to take on the role of cat-sitter for their feline friend, and if their job listing is anything to go by, they’re taking their search quite seriously. </p> <p dir="ltr">The ad, <a href="https://www.seek.com.au/job/67162902?fbclid=IwAR1pARYiDV_TaFy4kqCqf7yFpLNUQupF-Pz9sgAl56Q7JVwx0wX_sg_0_a4">posted to Seek</a>, calls for a “Pet Nanny for an amazing cat” in one of the city’s most affluent Eastern Suburbs. The wording of the job description is familiar enough for anyone who’d nannied in their past, with just the minor catch that their ward would have four legs this time around - and may have them chasing their tail. </p> <p dir="ltr">This “once in a lifetime” opportunity requests serious applicants only for the live-in and full-time position. A room and “all facilities” would be provided, all within a house described as both “wonderful and beautiful”, but for anyone hoping to bring their own pet along with them, this probably isn’t the job for them.</p> <p dir="ltr">The family are firm on candidates having prior experience with cats - the more, the better - and won’t so much as consider an application from someone who’s coming to them without. </p> <p dir="ltr">It makes sense when considering the duties of the position, which range from basic full-time care - with the likes of feeding, playing, and cleaning - to daily health checks, and perhaps most importantly to the cat, constant attention.</p> <p dir="ltr">Professional experience isn’t a must, with the family willing to consider pet owners for the exclusive gig - as long as you have “experience caring for cats” behind you, you’re in with a shot. </p> <p dir="ltr">It should go without saying that a “passion for cats and a deep understanding of their needs” is a must, so self-proclaimed animal lovers may find themselves a step ahead of the pack.</p> <p dir="ltr">The position is full-time, and a schedule will be supplied with rostered days off included. However, the usual catch applies, and hopeful applicants must be willing to work across weekends and holidays.</p> <p dir="ltr">The nitty gritty comes in the form of a valid WWCC (Working with Children Check), a first aid certificate, and police clearance, as well as unrestricted working rights in Australia, and “relevant VISA requirements”. </p> <p dir="ltr">And the listing concludes with another reminder that applicants “MUST have prior experience with animals”, because as any pet owner knows, animals are unique little friends, and it’s always best to know what you’re getting yourself into. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Perfect perfume or eau de cat’s bum? Why scents smell different and 4 fragrance tips

<p>Mother’s Day is coming up in Australia and that means a surge in perfume sales. Of course, scents are purchased year-round and not just for mothers. Fragrance sales in Australia will amount to <a href="https://www.statista.com/outlook/cmo/beauty-personal-care/fragrances/australia%5D">over A$1 billion</a> this year.</p> <p>The word “perfume” is derived from the Latin per fumus, meaning “through smoke”. The <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Mendeleyevs-Dream-Elements-Paul-Strathern/dp/0312262043">very first account</a> of using perfumes dates back to 1200 BC when a <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Women_of_Science.html?id=S7DaAAAAMAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">woman called Tapputi</a> mixed flowers, oils and various plants with water or solvents, then extracted their fragrance. The basis of this technique for making perfume is still used today.</p> <p>But how do we smell? What makes perfume appealing? And why does it smell differently on different people?</p> <h2>The science of smell</h2> <p>A sense of smell is vital to all species on Earth. One <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/elephants-may-have-best-noses-earth">study</a> identified African elephants as having the “best noses” in the animal kingdom, not to mention the longest ones. It can help animals sniff out danger, food and mates.</p> <p>For humans, too, being able to smell is not just for the enjoyment of pleasant odours. It can also protect us from toxic chemicals with noxious smells, such as <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ershdb/emergencyresponsecard_29750038.html#:%7E:text=Hydrogen%20cyanide%20(AC)%20gas%20has,as%20a%20solution%20in%20water.">hydrogen cyanide</a>.</p> <p>When something has an odour, it means it is chemically volatile – vaporising from a liquid to a gas. When we smell a scent, gas molecules enter our nose and stimulate specialised nerve cells called <a href="https://theconversation.com/curious-kids-how-do-we-smell-104772">olfactory sensory neurons</a>. When these neurons are triggered, they send a signal to the brain to identify the chemicals.</p> <p>Humans have around 10 million of those neurons and around <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1905909/">400 scent receptors</a>. The human nose can distinguish at least <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/human-nose-can-detect-trillion-smells#:%7E:text=These%20are%20only%20three%20of,never%20been%20explicitly%20tested%20before.">1 trillion different odours</a>, from freshly brewed coffee to wet dog to mouldy cheese.</p> <p>The more volatile a compound is the lower its boiling point and, from a chemical perspective, the weaker the forces holding the molecules together. When this is the case, more molecules enter the gaseous state and the smell is more intense.</p> <h2>What makes things smell good though?</h2> <p>Different classes of chemical compounds can have more pleasant or offensive scents.</p> <p>Fish and decaying animal cells, for example, release chemicals called <a href="https://chem.libretexts.org/Courses/BridgeValley_Community_and_Technical_College/Fundamentals_of_Chemistry/11%3A_Organic_Chemistry/11.15%3A_Amines#:%7E:text=Amines%20generally%20have%20rather%20pungent,odor%20associated%20with%20dead%20fish.">amines</a>, which don’t smell appealing.</p> <p>Fruits, on the other hand, are composed of chemicals in a class of organic compounds called aldehydes, esters and ketones, which have sweeter and <a href="https://chem.libretexts.org/Courses/Sacramento_City_College/SCC%3A_CHEM_330_-_Adventures_in_Chemistry_(Alviar-Agnew)/09%3A_Organic_Chemistry/9.08%3A_Carboxylic_Acids_and_Esters#:%7E:text=Esters%20occur%20widely%20in%20nature,fragrances%20of%20fruits%20and%20flowers.">more pleasant odours</a>.</p> <p>Chemists have been able to identify the <a href="https://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/table-of-organic-compounds-and-their-smells-revised-edition/">specific chemical smells</a> released by substances we encounter in everyday life.</p> <h2>Smells different</h2> <p>So it makes sense that pleasant-smelling aldehydes, ketones and esters are used to create perfumes. However, some perfumes also contain unusual ingredients that don’t smell nice on their own.</p> <p>For example, Chanel No. 5 perfume – the iconic 100-year-old favourite – contains civet as one of its base chemical notes. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1973/04/15/archives/a-boycott-of-chanel-no-5-urged-by-humane-groups.html">Civet</a> is used by perfumers for its <a href="https://theconversation.com/civet-musk-a-precious-perfume-ingredient-is-under-threat-steps-to-support-ethiopian-producers-and-protect-the-animals-193469">long-lasting, musky scent</a>. It is traditionally extracted from the anal glands of <a href="https://slate.com/technology/2012/07/chanel-no-5-a-brain-parasite-may-be-the-secret-to-the-famous-perfume.html">civet cats</a> but Chanel has used a synthetic form of civet <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/99a13235-cdb9-431b-b8f1-e52ce4a10486">since 1998</a>.</p> <h2>Tips for choosing and using perfumes</h2> <p>Our ability to smell a perfume will depend on two factors: how well our olfactory sensory neurons are performing (a virus or infection could affect function, for example) and the volatility of the chemicals in the perfume.</p> <p>1. Try before you buy</p> <p>You can’t really do much about your sensory neurons, but you can increase the intensity of perfumes, such as by warming up the perfume on your skin or applying to pulse points. This will help to give molecules more energy and increase the number of molecules entering the gaseous state.</p> <p>Specific perfumes will not smell the same on different people’s skin because the chemicals in them can be affected by the skin’s type and condition (dry or oily, acidic or base) and even their diet. Some foods we eat, such as garlic, are released from our bodies through our skin. Those chemicals can mask perfume chemicals.</p> <p>So, it is better to buy someone their tried and true favourite scent rather than risking a new one. And those department store sample sprays can be useful to try before you buy.</p> <p>2. Moisturise before use</p> <p>When you spray perfume on very dry skin, some of the perfume’s chemicals – the large organic ones that are similar to skin’s natural oils – are absorbed by the skin and then into the sebaceous glands. When some notes in a perfume are absorbed this way, it can take on a different smell. That’s also why it’s better to moisturise skin before spraying perfume, so perfume chemicals stay on the skin for longer.</p> <p>3. Experiment with spraying techniques</p> <p>To avoid changes in the scent of your favourite perfume and increase the time the perfume stays on you, you could spray your hair instead. Your hair is porous so perfume molecules might remain there longer. However, most perfumes contain alcohol, which dries out hair. Spraying perfume directly onto a hairbrush first, then brushing your hair, might prevent some of this drying effect.</p> <p><a href="https://www.byrdie.com/how-to-apply-perfume">Spraying then walking</a> through a mist of perfume so the chemicals settle on your hair, skin and clothes might work – but you risk losing a lot of precious perfume with that technique.</p> <p>4. Keep it cool</p> <p>Temperature will <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5674095_Effect_of_Temperature_on_the_Floral_Scent_Emission_and_Endogenous_Volatile_Profile_of_Petunia_axillaris">affect volatility</a>. To keep perfumes lasting longer in the bottle, keep them in the fridge or cool dark place and tightly sealed to prevent your expensive, heat-sensitive scent evaporating into thin air.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/perfect-perfume-or-eau-de-cats-bum-why-scents-smell-different-and-4-fragrance-tips-203905" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Why do cats knead? An explanation of this weird habit

<p>First off, not all cats knead, and they don’t all knead in the same way. Most cats use only their front paws, but some use all four, or even just their back legs. Some kitties bring their claws out, while others don’t. A cat kneading at your lap might hurt, but your kitty probably doesn’t have any bad intentions; it just likes how you sound when you squeak. (You know, like a mouse.)</p> <p>In all seriousness, if your cat kneads, you’ve probably noticed how relaxed it seems when doing so – almost as if it’s in a trance. A kneading cat is a happy cat. But why do cats knead when the action doesn’t accomplish anything? After all, “making biscuits” doesn’t actually lead to fresh baked goods.</p> <p><strong>Does it last their lifetime?</strong></p> <p>Even when they’re too young for their eyes to open, cute kittens need to knead, says Katy Nelson, DVM, a veterinarian with Chewy. Nursing kitties push on their mother’s abdomen when suckling to help their mother’s glands release more milk. No one is totally sure why the habit lasts through adulthood, but there are a few theories as to why cats knead.</p> <p>For one thing, your cat might find it soothing. Felines grow up associating kneading with the comfort of their mama, and though they most likely don’t think about food when they’re kneading as adults, they still find it relaxing, as evidenced by the purrs you’ll probably hear as they’re doing it.</p> <p>“Like a kid sucking a thumb, it’s a calming thing,” says Dr Nelson. “A lot of cats have their eyes closed and look like they’re completely zenned out.” Maybe this is why cats sleep so much.</p> <p>If you’re wondering what it means when a cat makes biscuits on you, know this: It’s a good sign. Kneading indicates a cat feels safe and happy around you – or maybe even considers you a mother figure!</p> <p><strong>It's a territorial thing</strong></p> <p>Another theory is that cats knead to mark their territory. Here’s a cool cat fact: Cats have scent glands on both their faces and their paws. When felines rub their faces against the furniture or go to town on a scratching post, they’re not just letting off steam or exploring the couch. They’re also leaving behind their scent.</p> <p>The same happens when your cat kneads. Paws are the only places where cats sweat, which means rubbing them against something leaves behind their smell, says Dr Nelson.</p> <p>Other experts think kneading could be traced back to our sweet, domesticated house cats’ ancestors. Those wild cats didn’t have the soft blanket or fancy cat bed that your family pet got for its birthday, so they had to work a little to make the ground as comfy as possible, says Dr Nelson. Pushing at the grass, leaves, or dirt might have helped soften it up to “get their bed just right,” she says.</p> <p><strong>It's a sign of happiness, too</strong></p> <p>If you’re a cat owner who also owns furniture, you may spend less time wondering “Why do cats knead?” and more time asking “how can I get my cat to stop kneading?” Innocent as the habit is, it’s easy to get annoyed when your kneading cat digs its claws into your lap or furniture.</p> <p>Kneading makes cats happy, says Dr Nelson, so you should never stop your pet from doing its thing; just keep its claws short. “Keep the nails trimmed so it’s not painful and not messing up your blanket or your couch,” she says. Another option would be to get yourself a cat-proof couch that can withstand all the scratching.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/why-do-cats-knead-an-explanation-of-this-weird-habit" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Dog people vs cat people: what your pet preference says about you

<p>Ask anybody whether they’re a cat or a dog person, and chances are, they’ve got a quick answer. But does your pet preference actually say much about your true personality? Well, there’s an increasing body of research that suggests it might.</p> <p><strong>Dog people are more extraverted</strong></p> <p>A 2010 study confirms the pervading cultural belief that dog people are more outgoing and social. Psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas at Austin conducted a study with 4,500 participants answering questions that measured their personality inclinations among the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. They also indicated whether they considered themselves a cat person, dog person, both or neither.</p> <p>Dog people scored higher on extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness whereas cat people were more neurotic and open, which in this context means creative, philosophical and open to non-traditional ways of thinking.</p> <p>“Once you know the findings, it kind of falls into place,” Gosling noted. “You think, of course, agreeableness and extraversion – dogs are companionable, they hang out, they like to be with you, they like your company, whereas cats like it for as long as they want it, and then they're off.”</p> <p><strong>Cat people scored higher in intelligence</strong></p> <p>In a 2014 study involving 600 college students led by Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Wisconsin, found dog owners were more lively, outgoing and rule-following, while cat owners are more introverted, sensitive, non-conformist and scored higher on intelligence tests.</p> <p>“It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog,” said Guastello. “Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.”</p> <p>Interestingly, the study also found the different qualities the pet owners valued in their dogs or cats: 38 per cent of dog lovers reported companionship was the best quality of canines, while 45.6 per cent of cat lovers said affection was the top cat trait.</p> <p>However, ultimately these studies are of course, generalisations and the traits don’t apply to all dog owners or cat owners. And in the end, what does it matter – each pet owner loves animals and that in itself says a lot more about a person!</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Outrage halts New Zealand cat-killing contest

<p>A contest planned for children in New Zealand to hunt and kill feral cats in an attempt to protect native species has been stopped following severe backlash from the public and animal rights groups.</p> <p>The event would have been part of a fundraiser organised by the North Canterbury Hunting Competition for the Rotherham School in the Canterbury region of South Island.</p> <p>A new junior category was announced by organisers on April 16 that would allow children to hunt feral cats and compete for a top prize of $NZ250 prize ($229AUD).</p> <p>The announcement sparked public outrage leading organisers to cancel the event the very next day, April 17.</p> <p>A statement released by organisers explained, "vile and inappropriate emails and messages had been sent to the school and others involved.”</p> <p>"We are incredibly disappointed in this reaction and would like to clarify that this competition is an independent community run event," the statement continued.</p> <p>Feral cats have long been an issue between animal lovers and authorities because of the potential threat they pose to other wild animals.</p> <p>Authorities say that in Australia, feral cats threaten the survival of more than 100 native species.</p> <p>Feral cats are responsible for killing millions of birds, frogs, mammals and reptiles every day, compelling authorities to arrange regular culls.</p> <p>Organisers of the contest maintained that the junior hunting tournament to kill feral cats, using a firearm or any other means, was about "protecting native birds and other vulnerable species”.</p> <p>"Our sponsors and school safety are our main priority, so the decision has been made to withdraw this category for this year to avoid further backlash at this time," it said.</p> <p>"To clarify, for all hunting categories, our hunters are required to abide by Firearms Act 1983 and future amendments as well as the Animal Welfare Act 1999.”</p> <p>Organisers had announced rules to discourage young participants from killing pets.</p> <p>Any child who brought in a microchip cat would have been disqualified, they said.</p> <p>The group mentioned that previously scheduled hunts for other categories like local pigs and deer would still go ahead.</p> <p>The New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it was "both pleased and relieved" that the junior cat-killing contest had been axed.</p> <p>"Children, as well as adults, will not be able to tell the difference between a feral, stray or a frightened domesticated cat,” it said.</p> <p>"There is a good chance someone's pet may be killed during this event. In addition, children often use air rifles in these sorts of event which increase the likelihood of pain and distress and can cause a prolonged death," it added.</p> <p>Animal rights group PETA was pleased to see the contest had been withdrawn.</p> <p>PETA’s Asia vice president Jason Barker released a statement, saying, ”Encouraging kids to hunt down and kill animals is a sure-fire way to raise adults who solve problems with violence ... We need to foster empathy and compassion in kids, not lead them to believe animals are 'less than' humans while rewarding them for brutality.”</p> <p>The contest was publicly slammed on Twitter by British comedian Ricky Gervais, who is a known animal lover with an enormous platform of 15 million followers.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">“Right. We need some new PR ideas to make the world love New Zealand. Maybe something involving kids &amp; kittens. Yes, Hargreaves?” <a href="https://t.co/E3nPTl1IHj">https://t.co/E3nPTl1IHj</a></p> <p>— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) <a href="https://twitter.com/rickygervais/status/1648732952224833536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 19, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Right. We need some new PR ideas to make the world love New Zealand," he wrote.</p> <p>"Maybe something involving kids &amp; kittens. Yes, Hargreaves?”</p> <p>This is not the first official campaign against cats in New Zealand, including one that encouraged cat lovers to avoid replacing their pets when they die.</p> <p>"Cats are the only true sadists of the animal world, serial killers who torture without mercy,” said then Prime Minister John Key, who had his own cat named Moonbeam.</p> <p>Helen Blackie, a biosecurity consultant at the environmental planning and design consultancy, Boffa Miskell, has studied feral cats for over 20 years and said that numbers had risen in the last decade, and in some areas where pests were tracked by cameras, feral cats outnumbered other species like possums.</p> <p>"Historically, we know that feral cats were responsible for the extinction of six bird species and are leading agents of decline in populations of birds, bats, frogs and lizards," she told CNN affiliate RNZ.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Keeping your cat safe while renovating

<p>Planning renovations or starting a DIY home project? It’s worth it in the end, but the process can be stressful for people and pets. With a little planning, you can ease the stress and keep your cat safe as you transform your home.</p> <p><strong>Plan ahead</strong></p> <p>Before starting your home improvement projects, make sure you have made arrangements to keep your cat safe during this time. Renovation chemicals, debris and noises can be harmful to your cats’ health and even lead to behavioural problems. Workers coming in and out of your home create a high risk of your cat escaping.</p> <p>Pets need to be kept away from work areas for their safety and the safety of workers. If the planned work is extensive or your pet is very sensitive, it would be worth boarding them for the duration of construction; you’ll have peace of mind knowing they won’t be exposed to anything dangerous and won’t get frightened and run away.</p> <p><strong>Creating a safe space</strong></p> <p>If your cat is staying home with you, set them up in a separate room with everything they need: litter tray, food and water, toys, and their favourite bedding. Choose a room as far as possible from the construction zone, that workers do not need to access, and put a big “Do Not Open” sign on the door. Make sure windows and flyscreens are secured. Even with all these measures in place there is a high risk of your cat escaping during renovations so guarantee your cat’s microchip and registration details are up to date with the Pet Registry.</p> <p>Cats are especially sensitive to noise and can become stressed with the unfamiliar and often very loud sounds associated with construction. Even the most confident cats want to have a safe, quiet space free from startling noise. When setting up their room it is a good idea to include a high perch and an igloo bed or box that they can retreat to. This will help them to feel secure, and calming interventions such as Feliway, Zylkene and Tranquil Treats can also be beneficial. Cats are creatures of habit, so maintaining their normal feeding, playtime and sleep routines will reassure them.</p> <p><strong>Hazards for your cat</strong></p> <p>Small particles of dust and debris from renovation work can easily attach to your cat’s coat, their bedding and get into their lungs and eyes. This can cause difficulty breathing, asthma, eye irritations, skin allergies and/or toxicity if they ingest chemicals or foreign materials. Keep their room scrupulously clean and monitor their health closely.</p> <p>Many older homes have lead paint and asbestos, which are extremely dangerous for people and for pets, so consult professionals before embarking on any DIY.</p> <p>Cats are more sensitive to fumes than we are, so don’t assume that because you don’t notice an odour your cat is safe. Keep in mind a cat’s lungs are much smaller than ours and their sense of smell is much better than ours. Renovation work such as painting, floor finishing, using adhesives and varnishing are all potentially harmful to your cat. Make sure there is sufficient air flow to allow fresh air into areas where there may be heavy fumes not only for your cat’s safety, but for the safety of yourself and workers. Keep your cat away from these areas in a separate room with ample air flow for at least 1-2 days to allow time for fumes to dissipate. Even if your cat is mostly staying home during renovations, you should consider boarding them during dangerous, noisy, or fume-emitting jobs. </p> <p>Document all the products used (safety data is usually printed on the packaging; take photos to record all the paints and chemicals used for your renovations). If your pet somehow ingests something, the product information will help your vet to determine the best treatment.</p> <p><strong>Adding ‘feline features’</strong></p> <p>While you’re renovating, consider including some special “feline features” to your home, such as indoor catwalks, shelves and perches. It is a great idea to make use of vertical space within your home as cats love high vantage points which enable them to look down on their world. You might even incorporate a “catio” or access to an outdoor enclosure for your feline friend to enjoy. By creating a secure outdoor area for your cat to explore they will be protected from the dangers of cars, cat fights and injury all the while protecting not just your precious pet but also native wildlife and birds.</p> <p>Once the renovations are done, thoroughly clean your home and remove all potential hazards. If you’ve made big changes, gradually introduce your cat back into the home: things will look and smell different to them, so make sure there are some blankets and toys that have your cat’s scent on them. This will reassure them that they are indeed “home”. </p> <p><em>For general advice on cat care and everything feline, call the Cat Protection Society of NSW on 02 9557 4818 or visit their website <a href="http://www.catprotection.org.au">www.catprotection.org.au</a></em></p> <p><strong><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with the Cat Protection Society.</em></strong></p> <p><em>Image credits: Supplied - Cat Protection Society</em></p>

Family & Pets

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“Rarest species of feline on Earth”: Unique cat mystifies the internet

<p dir="ltr">A photo of the “rarest species of feline on Earth”, a cat with black and neon yellow stripes, has mystified the internet.</p> <p dir="ltr">The incredible photo of the “Amazon snake cat” is truly unbelievable.</p> <p dir="ltr">The image of the so-called “Serpens Cattus”, a feline with black and neon-yellow stripes resembling a snake, made waves online, with social media posts claiming it was the “rarest species of feline on Earth”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Serpens Cattus is the rarest species of feline on Earth. These Animals live in hard-to-reach regions of the Amazon rainforest, and therefore they are relatively poorly studied,” a Twitter user claimed. “The first images capturing the snake cat appeared only in 2020. Weighs up to 4 stone (25kgs).”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://t.co/rpeMQKCF4I">pic.twitter.com/rpeMQKCF4I</a></p> <p>— Jeff_kamara2 (@Kamara2R) <a href="https://twitter.com/Kamara2R/status/1635669633553367040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">A now-deleted Reddit post of the “Serpens Cattus” attracted several comments who flagged the feline as not being real. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Obvious fake. No known gene can produce natural hair or fur of those (navy and bright yellow) colours,” one commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Really rough attempt at a fake Latin name,” a second person chimed in. “One google about species naming would have made this a lot less obvious.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The post caught the eye of zoology experts to verify the authenticity of the photo.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the colours and patterns on the female bare a strong resemblance to the reptilian boiga dendrophila, which is commonly referred to as the “gold-ringed cat snake”.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo &amp; Conservation Biology Institute, the snake is found in the same countries where the “Amazon snake cat” was rumoured to be found. </p> <p dir="ltr">The serpent-like feline slid over to TikTok, where one user claimed that the species lived in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He’s in the next fantastic beasts,” laughed one user referencing the Harry Potter spin-off franchise.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Use this s**t for good not to misinform,” another user wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop sharing bulls**t,” a third commented. </p> <p dir="ltr">It's clear to see the mysterious feline has certainly left some in hiss-belief.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-919797d4-7fff-89ab-2d2e-e88b391d041a"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Twitter</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Why do cats and dogs get the zoomies?

<p dir="ltr">Does your cat or dog suddenly get a burst of energy and perform athletic feats around the house that would make even a gold medallist jealous? Welcome to the world of zoomies.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zoomies involve intense periods of high-energy activity including running, spinning, jumping and rolling. All at top speed.</p> <p dir="ltr">A proposed scientific name is frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs). In rabbits these high activity periods are called “<a href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aalas/jaalas/2020/00000059/00000004/art00003">binkies</a>”. But many cat and dog owners simply call them “zoomies”.</p> <p dir="ltr">So why do our animals experience the zoomies? And is it something we should be worried about?</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Why do animals get the zoomies?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Think about when your cat or dog gets the zoomies.</p> <p dir="ltr">You might see post-bath zoomies, dog park-zoomies, midnight-zoomies and good ol’ out-of-nowhere zoomies.</p> <p dir="ltr">The trigger may be excitement or a sudden increase in stimulation.</p> <p dir="ltr">In cats, a commonly reported trigger is using the litter tray. This may be explained by “poo-phoria”, a feeling of euphoria following defecation. This is possibly caused by large bowel movements stimulating the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859128/">vagus nerve</a>, resulting in positive feelings and a drop in heart rate and blood pressure.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zoomies can be characterised as <a href="https://doi.org/10.7120/09627286.31.4.005">play</a> as the two behaviours share many of the same characteristics. This would make zoomies intrinsically pleasurable – in other words, a whole load of fun.</p> <p dir="ltr">If the zoomies are occurring as part of your animal’s regular play routine, this indicates your animal is happy and enjoying themselves.</p> <p dir="ltr">While we don’t yet know if zoomies are more likely to occur at certain times of the day, or more in some breeds compared with others, we do consider them a general indication of a high level of excitement – and likely a pretty good mood.</p> <p dir="ltr">Humans are animals too and some people also experience what could be similar to the “zoomies”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ever get a sudden feeling of intense excitement and spare energy? Maybe you’ve felt the need to jump, shake or dance, before it wears off and you’re back to your regular settings.</p> <p dir="ltr">This can be caused by a multitude of things – an exciting or novel situation, a spike in energy after a extended period of resting or perhaps a change in your inner chemistry. Perhaps you got a rush of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/adrenaline">adrenaline</a> caused by excitement, over-stimulation or stress.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Are zoomies always a sign your cat or dog is happy?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">It’s important to remember animals are individuals and, just like us, why they behave the way they do is complex and multifaceted.</p> <p dir="ltr">When assessing your animal’s behaviour, it’s essential to also assess the context.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zoomies are mentioned a lot online, but there is a real lack of scientific research on what causes them, how often they occur, or even an official definition of what they are.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Ask yourself: am I invited to the zoomie?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In dogs and cats, zoomies can include an invitation for others to join – in dogs this is most commonly a play bow, where the dog appears to “bow” to another in an effort to signal it is keen to play – followed by a pause <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-008-0175-y">commonly seen in dyadic play</a> (play between two or more individuals).</p> <p dir="ltr">In cats, an invitation may include physically interacting with you or repeatedly rolling over. If this is the case, your animal is likely experiencing excitement and a desire to interact with you.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What do I do during a zoomie outbreak?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Unless there’s an element of immediate danger (such as zoomies on or near a road) there is no reason to stop your cat or dog from enjoying their burst of fun.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cats and dogs are often superstars at avoiding obstacles even at high speed. If you’re lucky enough to receive invitations to partake in the chaos, feel free to join in the play.</p> <p dir="ltr">Enjoying shared activities such as play with your dog or cat can have many <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2006.03.009">benefits</a> for the human-animal relationship. It’s also a lot of fun for you!</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>When should I be worried?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Zoomies are usually a completely normal (and fun) part of being a dog or cat.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sometimes, however, it may be a symptom of either <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Manual_of_Clinical_Behavioral_Medicine_f.html?id=ANzWPAAACAAJ&redir_esc=y">stress or an underlying medical condition</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As always, context is key. You should consult with your veterinarian if your dog or cat is displaying the behaviour for extended periods of time (in particular, spinning, or behaviours occurring during times of confinement). These might be signs of a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-07443-6">repetitive behaviour disorder</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you struggle to distract or stop the behaviour, or if it is resulting in injuries, seek veterinary assistance.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even if you don’t get the call of the zoomies yourself, take a moment to stop and enjoy your dog or cat having fun.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sometimes we all need to run wild.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>This article originally appeared on<a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-cats-and-dogs-get-the-zoomies-197790"> The Conversation</a></em></p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-e609056f-7fff-3473-fbd8-b21d5b7dcd16"></span></em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Top 5 pet tips to keep your furry friend healthy

<p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>1. Don’t skip out on the vet</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Just like us, pets can get heart problems, arthritis and even mental illness! If your pet seems out of sorts, take them to the vet to try to catch it early.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Spay and neuter your pets</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">If you have a cat or a dog, it’s extremely important you get them desexed. It cuts down the number of unwanted pets and reduces the likelihood of your pet running away, as before spaying/neutering, they have a tendency to roam.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Prevent parasites</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Fleas are the most common external parasites; make sure you keep up with flea treatment, and if you spot fleas on your pet, get on it quick-smart. Aside from the nasty itching your pet will experience, if your pet were to swallow a flea, it could end up with tapeworms. Prevention is key!</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Maintain a healthy weight</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Too many pets are obese, and just like us, obese pets are at a higher risk of diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Overfeeding is the leading cause of obesity, so make sure your pet is getting adequate nutrition without overfeeding.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Microchip your pet</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Lack of identification means as few as 14% ever find their way back home. Microchip your pets so that they get lost, you have a much higher chance of getting them back home.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Aussie cat-fluencer claws in a staggering salary online

<p>Honey, who lives in Melbourne with her human parents Paul and Nicole, has proven herself to be quite the star of her very own Cinderella story. </p> <p>Honey had been spending her days on the streets when she was taken to a local animal shelter, and stayed there for months while she waited on someone to give her a place in their hearts and in their home. Luckily, cat lovers Nicole and Paul became smitten with the kitten on a visit to the shelter, and wasted no time in adopting her.</p> <p>Their furry friend, who is now 3 years old and living a delightfully pampered life, has come a long way from her lonely start in life. These days, Honey dazzles people from all around the world with her Instagram account, where she “performs” as a chef, poses in custom costumes, and shares delicious recipes with her 164k followers. </p> <p>Honey’s success has proven a treat for her owners, too, with the cat drawing in a stunning salary of $63k last year alone. Although this income already falls above the median national salary (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics), it’s predicted that the sum will only rise from here, having already skyrocketed from $50k in 2021. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CjBzTWuPkz0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CjBzTWuPkz0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by HONEY | Cat Chef | Princess (@princesshoneybelle)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“We started Honey’s Instagram in January 2020 when we adopted her,” Nicole said in an interview with <em>news.com.au</em>, “as a way to document her growing up.”</p> <p>“When the pandemic started, I had a bunch of extra free time so really started to research and invest myself into learning more about social media and how to be successful,” Nicole explained of the decision to start the account, going on to add that they “grew followers pretty quickly and had 20k within four months, but the only brand deals we could secure were gifted at first.</p> <p>“We got our first paid deal about six months after we had started, but didn’t start to see decent earnings until mid-2021.”</p> <p>Nicole credits Honey’s rise to internet fame to their Instagram reels, telling <em>news.com.au</em>, “things really started to take off when we started posting the reels. We do baking reels, they really show off Honey’s persona as a cat chef. People adore her.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CoDVHDaNsPG/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CoDVHDaNsPG/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by HONEY | Cat Chef | Princess (@princesshoneybelle)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Honey’s success has led to opportunities most can only dream of - she has her own merchandise, and a cookbook coming out later in 2022. Of their branching enterprise, Nicole admitted that “it is important to have multiple streams of income, as brand deals are not always available.”</p> <p>She went on to explain that they try to keep their content relevant, watch out for what’s trending, and to balance education with entertainment. But most all, they try to do whatever Honey wants - despite criticism that they are only using their furry friend for financial gain. </p> <p>“Honey loves making videos, and really enjoys all the attention she gets when we film or take pictures,” Nicole assured, “she is often purring through the whole process. She also always gets her favourite treats as payment, of course.</p> <p>“We never do anything she doesn’t want to do, and ensure her health, safety and happiness always come first.</p> <p>“Creating content with her has been an amazing way to bond and document her life with us, make friendships and connections from around the world, and inspire others to adopt from and support shelters.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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